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Report: Kings told DeMarcus Cousins they wouldn’t hire George Karl (then did), would fire him (then didn’t)

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DeMarcus Cousins-George Karl was the most dysfunctional franchise player-coach relationship in recent memory.

Who deserves blame?

Cousins? He was too moody, contributing to a chaotic culture in Sacramento that would have been difficult for any coach to traverse. Cousins harshly berated Karl multiple times, undercutting the coach’s stature with the entire team.

Karl? He went out of his way to antagonize Cousins. Karl’s job included forming a productive working relationship with Cousins, and it often seemed Karl had no interest in that.

Other culprits? Look higher in the organizational flow chart.

Broadly, Sacramento failed to build an adequate supporting cast around Cousins – which meant lots of losses. Losing inflamed any brewing Cousins-Karl trouble.

The Kings also apparently aggravated the situation by repeatedly misleading Cousins.

As they were considering hiring Karl in February 2015, word leaked that Cousins didn’t want to play for Karl.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

To compound problems, sources say, Cousins was assured by management that Karl wouldn’t be hired, despite rumors to the contrary.

Then, a year later, other reports said Sacramento planned to fire Karl in the coming days.


Exacerbating the situation — and further proving the depths of the Kings’ dysfunction: In February 2016, Divac called Cousins in Philadelphia, where the Kings were on an extended road trip. The organization, Cousins was told, was going to fire Karl that day.

The Kings stayed Karl’s execution – Sacramento general manager Divac Divac infamously defending keeping Karl “for now” – until April 14. Those extra months just provided time for more losing and more Cousins-Karl sparring.

Divac has had communication issues, but it’s worth noting he wasn’t leading the front office when the Kings told Cousins they wouldn’t hire Karl/hired Karl. The franchise’s problems start at the top with owner Vivek Ranadive, who oversaw major management turnover between Karl’s hiring and firing.

I wouldn’t blame Cousins for resenting being repeatedly misled. But $219 million over five years can incite plenty of forgiveness.

How Sacramento fixes its numerous other problems is a much more confounding question. Its one Arnovitz explores in his deep dive into the Kings, which I highly recommend reading in full.

Bradley Beal, Kent Bazemore get technicals for scuffle in Hawks, Wizards

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It’s been a chippy kind of playoff series — one where Paul Millsap gets called a crybaby — and with the Hawks on the brink of elimination emotions were especially high on Friday night.

Kent Bazemore had been frustrated with a couple of calls (and no calls) and he took that out on the play above — he got picked by Kelly Oubre, who threw the ball ahead to Bradley Beal for a layup, and Bazemore gave him a little push in the air. It wasn’t much, but when a guy is airborne and defenseless that touch throwing off balance can lead to serious injury.

Beal bounced up and got in Bazemore’s face. Then an NBA version of a scuffle started.

The referees reviewed it and Beal and Bazemore got technical fouls with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jason Smith also getting them for their role later in the “festivities.”

The league should come in with a fine for Bazemore on this — you cannot let guys push other guys who are airborne, even slightly. That was a dangerous play, and I’m surprised the officials did not call a technical.

Report: Kevin McHale also in mix for team president in Orlando

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Cavaliers GM David Griffin — who doesn’t have a contract with the team beyond this year, but who LeBron James has endorsed — is on their radar.

Larry Bird, who is stepping down in Indiana, is a potential target.

You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.

He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.

The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.

McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.

Joel Embiid was hanging out with Philly fans at the NFL Draft


Joel Embiid is a man of the people.

And last night the people in Philadelphia were all Eagles fans, watching the NFL Draft unfold.

Embiid was out there with them. Literally.

Ben Simmons was there as well with Embiid, according to

Philadelphia fans can only hope the Eagles draft as well — and have WAY better injury luck — than the Sixers.

Moving to new arena, Detroit Pistons submit bids to host 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game

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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have put in bids to host a future NBA All-Star Game at Little Caesars Arena.

The team says in a release Friday that bids were submitted to the league for 2020 and 2021.

Little Caesars Arena is being built just north of downtown Detroit and is expected to open this year. It also will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

In November, the Pistons announced the team was moving back to Detroit from The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The city of Detroit last hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1959. The 1979 game was played in Pontiac when the Pistons’ home court was the Silverdome.

NBA All-Star events include the All-Star Game, NBA Rising Stars Challenge, a celebrity game, skills competition and fan events.